ISPs also focused heavily on the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which would have spent $80 billion to deploy future-proof broadband infrastructure nationwide, directed the FCC to collect and publicize data on broadband prices, and eliminated state laws that prevent the growth of municipal broadband, among other things. The bill prioritized fiber by requiring federally funded ISPs to provide low latency and speeds of at least 100Mbps for both downloads and uploads and by defining “unserved” areas as those lacking access to 25Mbps speeds on both the download and upload side.
Six of the 15 ISPs and trade groups reported lobbying on the bill, including AT&T, Charter, NCTA, T-Mobile, USTelecom, and Verizon, Common Cause wrote, adding:
The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act seeks to address the digital divide, and ISPs want to define both the divide and its solutions to their benefit. Industry lobbyists have persistently disseminated talking points at the federal and state levels advocating for lower speed requirements and “technology neutrality,” both of which aim to limit the preference given to fiber-optic broadband in publicly funded deployment, despite the clear superiority of that technology. ISPs have also been incredibly effective over the years, lobbying at the state level to prohibit municipal broadband and cooperatives from serving communities that have been abandoned by existing providers. Further, the industry has resisted calls for price transparency… and in part owing to the successful efforts of ISP lobbyists, the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act did not even receive a vote in the House or Senate during the 116th Congress.
In the United States we do not have fast, reliable, competitively priced broadband because current providers have a vested financial interest in the status quo.